‘I’m tired of the politics’: Chief’s abrupt retirement caused by lack of emphasis on public safety

After announcing his retirement on his blog on Sunday, Police Chief Mike Koval is voicing his reason for the sudden exit.

“I’m tired of the politics. The politics has been oppressive to me,” said Koval. “And frankly we’re getting ready to go through another budgetary process where I am completely frustrated in terms of what I believe are important priorities for this department that probably won’t be met. And I get it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with it. And that certainly doesn’t mean I have to sit through it.”

Koval has been with the department since 1983 and has served as chief of police for five years.

He said since 2015 he has been asking city leaders for 10 more officers each year, but he’s never gotten enough.

He believes city government isn’t making public safety a priority.

“I thought when I saw the mayor campaign on a platform that didn’t mention public safety, and afterwards I saw a budget where the priorities certainly weren’t public safety, rather than me constantly hitting my head against a concrete wall, I won’t do that anymore,” said Koval.

He said it is time for someone else to take on the mission he has been trying so hard to achieve, hoping a new face and voice can get city leaders to listen.

“I’m tried of being a square peg fitting into a round hole, go-along, get-along. That doesn’t work for me. I’m a straight shooter. You hear what I feel. You’re going to know what I think are the problems and I’m unapologetic for having those principles,” said Koval.

“If people aren’t feeling safe downtown, it doesn’t matter how many buses you truck down there.”
Mike Koval says his frustration that @CityofMadison government leaders won’t make public safety a priority has pushed him to abruptly retire. #news3now MORE: https://t.co/vcK3UI5T3G pic.twitter.com/y0l2mwcdXx

— Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) September 30, 2019

Sunday was his last day as chief of police.

Assistant Chief Vic Wahl will work as the interim Chief of Police for the department until the Police and Fire Commission finds a permanent replacement.

Koval hopes the permanent replacement can get politicians to address the department’s needs for more staff.

“They have to have someone who is firm and fair and fiercely independent of the politics,” said Koval. “The worst thing that could happen to Madison is that they hire a lap dog who is just a bobble head and does everything the mayor and the council says without objection.”

Koval hopes he can still serve the Madison community and said part of him would like to be mayor one day.

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